New Delhi: Skipper David Warner led from the front with a brilliant unbeaten 69 off 52 balls as Sunrisers Hyderabad beat Gujarat Lions by 8 wickets to qualify for the playoffs at the Green Park Stadium in Kanpur on Saturday.
The win handed SRH 17 points from 14 games and a secure place in the last four. Gujarat though, ended with 8 points from 14 games with just 4 wins this season. After a brilliant show in their debut season in 2016, this wasn’t the best effort from the Gujarat outfit.
Chasing 155, Warner showed how he can curb his explosive nature and play a calculated innings when needed. With Shikhar Dhawan (18) and Moises Henriques (4) going back into the hut with the score on 25, Warner found a good folly in Vijay Shankar — unbeaten on 63 off 44 balls.
The two shut the door on the Gujarat bowlers after Praveen Kumar struck twice in the 3rd over of the innings to peg Hyderabad back. But Gujarat’s hopes were quashed as Shankar matched Warner step for step and ensured that there were no hiccups as the two took Hyderabad home with 11 balls to spare.
Warner and Shankar put on 133 runs for the second wicket at 8.76 runs per over. The only time that Gujarat sniffed another chance was when Warner (29) nicked Ankit Soni to Dinesh Karthik, but the umpire did not hear anything. Apart from that, there was no hope for Suresh Raina’s boys.
But special praise for Shankar as he did register his maiden fifty having replaced Yuvraj Singh. He showed great composure and did not shows signs of any pressure. Credit to Warner for guiding him perfectly.
Earlier, Warner won the toss and decided to bowl first. And his bowlers did not start in the perfect fashion as Dwayne Smith and Ishan Kishan put on 111 for the opening wicket. But they lost their 10 wickets for just 43 runs with Mohammed Siraj (4/32) and Rashid Khan (3/34) effecting a batting collapse to bundle out Gujarat Lions for 154.
Kishan hit 61 off 40 balls and Smith hit 54 off 33 balls as Gujarat looked on their way to register their 5th win of the season. After the quality show from Siraj and Rashid, it was Bhuvneshwar Kumar (2/25) and Siddarth Kaul (1/30) who cleaned up the tail.
But before the collapse, it was Kishan who called the shots as he hit the ball all around the small Green Park stadium. In fact, quite a few of his mishits also crossed the boundary ropes as he hit five fours and four sixes.
Smith started partly slowly, but soon joined the party as he hit Mohammed Nabi for a couple of sixes and then Rashid. It almost looked like Kishan and Smith would run away with the game before Rashid dismissed Smith with a flipper that was hitting the wickets clean.
Kishan followed soon after as he top-edged a pull off Siraj for wicket-keeper Naman Ojha to complete an easy catch. And that started the collapse wherein the Gujarat batsmen lost wickets in a hurry. Only Ravindra Jadeja played a fighting knock as he hit an unbeaten 20 off 14 balls.